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AWS Directory Service vs Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) comparison

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Buyer's Guide
AWS Directory Service vs. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about AWS Directory Service vs. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
622,645 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"AWS Directory Service is secure.""Provides good performance and availability.""The most valuable feature is that because it's all in the cloud, you don't need to manage the infrastructure.""AWS handles everything on the backend requiring minimal legwork from our team. We only require a dedicated database administrator while depending on Amazon for RDS.""AWS has eliminated the downtime we waste when our on-premises resources go down.""We like the fact that it's got such great redundancy."

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"The most valuable feature is the single sign-on, which allows any application that is SAML or OAuth compatible to use Azure as an identity provider for seamless sign-in.""The scalability capabilities are quite high.""The ability to see and control PCs and mobile devices is the most valuable. I can see where they are and how many we have. I can also see the age and retention of PCs.""The most valuable feature is Identity and Access Management. As an IT administrator, this feature allows me to manage access for users and groups.""The most valuable feature is the conditional access policies. This gives us the ability to restrict who can access which applications or the portal in specific ways.""It is cloud based so it is always updated,""Conditional Access is a helpful feature because it allows us to provide better security for our users.""As an end-user, the access to shared resources that I get from using this product is very helpful."

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"We had a problem with the schema uploading and setting up the directory when we are migrating our users from on-premises to cloud infrastructure.""The AWS Directory Service should be easier to integrate.""AWS could improve the number of regions. Azure has passed them. The ned more consistency, as far as the Northeast is concerned.""The solution lacks certain features.""To get CloudWatch to monitor your memory and storage, you have to do some configuration within your server, which sometimes results in errors.""Our only complaint is that you cannot integrate your Exchange server. Or, if you are planning to install an Exchange server on your Amazon EC2 instance, then you need to configure Active Directory on EC2 instance. We would like for this limitation to be lifted."

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"Definitely, the price could be lower. When we moved from AWS to Azure, we started paying more.""The scalability of the solution is good.""The initial setup was complex.""Transitioning to the cloud is very difficult. They need the training to make it easier.""The visibility in the GUI is not good for management. There are a lot of improvements that could make it better. It should be more user-friendly overall. It is not user-friendly because everything keeps changing on the platform. I can understand it because I know the platform, am familiar with it, and use it every day. However, for a lot of clients, they don't use it every day or are not familiar with it, so it should be more user friendly.""If somebody is using an IdP or an identity solution other than Active Directory, that's where you have to start jumping through some hoops... I don't think the solution is quite as third-party-centric as Okta or Auth0.""The technical support can be confusing - if you're looking for something very specific, it can be hard to get the right answer or a solution.""Azure Active Directory could improve by having an authentication service for laptops or desktop computers running Mac and Linux operating systems. They currently have authentication capabilities for Microsoft Windows. Having this capability would benefit people because in today's world everybody is working from the home environment."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The pricing depends because with AWS there are two types of directory objects: 30,000 and 500,000. It varies. AWS provides the pricing calculators so we can get an estimate from there as per the company requirement of how many users and objects that we need to create. So we can go to that portal, put in the data, and get the quotation. There are no extra licensing fees. It's all included."
  • "AWS' pricing is fair, and costs can be cut if you look carefully at when you're using it."
  • "We pay an annual subscription fee."
  • More AWS Directory Service Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "This product is sold as part of the enterprise package and our licensing fees are paid on a yearly basis."
  • "MFA and P2 licenses for two Azures for fully-enabled scenarios and features cost a lot of money. This is where Okta is trying to get the prices down."
  • "We are a non-profit organization, so we get good prices from Microsoft for their products. It is working well, but it could be cheaper. For the type of organization we are, it would be good if they could give a little bit more and be more generous like Google, which has completely free services. Microsoft has free versions or web services called Office 365 E1, which is free for use, but we want to have it with more qualified clients."
  • "We pay about $35 per user."
  • "I think we're on the E3 — I think it was about 35 dollars per user."
  • "We got a good deal. If you get rid of all the products providing features that Azure Suite can provide, then it makes sense cost-wise."
  • "Microsoft has a free version of Azure AD. So, if you don't do a lot of advanced features, then you can use the free version, which is no cost at all because it is underpinning Office 365. Because Microsoft gives it to you as a SaaS, so there are no infrastructure costs whatsoever that you need to incur. If you use the free version, then it is free. If you use the advanced features (that we use), it is a license fee per user."
  • "Make sure that you get the most out of your Office 365 licenses for Azure AD. If you have additional concerns for users who don't have an Office 365 license, consider Azure AD Premium P1 and P2. Be aware that you have to evaluate your license usage beforehand."
  • More Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Pricing and Cost Advice →

    Use our free recommendation engine to learn which Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) solutions are best for your needs.
    622,645 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:What is the essential advantage of AWS registry administrations? The essential advantage of carrying out AWS Directory Service is that associations can now broaden AD characters and the board… more »
    Top Answer:Provides good performance and availability.
    Top Answer:We use BitLocker for policy enforcement. And now, because of the Microsoft 365 Business Premium package, we get Intune as a part of it. That's very useful for us for setting policies and managing the… more »
    Top Answer:We are using the version that comes with Microsoft 365 Business Premium. Microsoft has a very weird way of licensing the product. With the standard on-prem edition, we can do a lot of regular… more »
    Top Answer:The ability to manage and authenticate against on-premises solutions would be beneficial.
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    Also Known As
    AWS Managed Microsoft AD
    Azure Active Directory
    Learn More

    AWS Directory Service lets you run Microsoft Active Directory (AD) as a managed service. AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, also referred to as AWS Managed Microsoft AD, is powered by Windows Server 2012 R2. When you select and launch this directory type, it is created as a highly available pair of domain controllers connected to your virtual private cloud (VPC). The domain controllers run in different Availability Zones in a region of your choice. Host monitoring and recovery, data replication, snapshots, and software updates are automatically configured and managed for you.

    Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), part of Microsoft Entra, is an enterprise identity service that provides single sign-on, multifactor authentication, and conditional access to guard against 99.9 percent of cybersecurity attacks.

    Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is a cloud-based identity and access management service. This service helps your employees access external resources, such as Microsoft 365, the Azure portal, and thousands of other SaaS applications. Azure Active Directory also helps them access internal resources like apps on your corporate intranet network, along with any cloud apps developed for your own organization.

    Azure AD is intended for:

    • IT admins: As an IT admin, use Azure AD to control access to your apps and your app resources, based on your business requirements. For example, you can use Azure AD to require multi-factor authentication when accessing important organizational resources. You can also use Azure AD to automate user provisioning between your existing Windows Server AD and your cloud apps, including Microsoft 365. Finally, Azure AD gives you powerful tools to automatically help protect user identities and credentials and to meet your access governance requirements.
    • App developers: As an app developer, you can use Azure AD as a standards-based approach for adding single sign-on (SSO) to your app, allowing it to work with a user's pre-existing credentials. Azure AD also provides APIs that can help you build personalized app experiences using existing organizational data. 
    • Microsoft 365, Office 365, Azure, or Dynamics CRM Online subscribers: As a subscriber, you're already using Azure AD. Each Microsoft 365, Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics CRM Online tenant is automatically an Azure AD tenant. You can immediately start to manage access to your integrated cloud apps.
    Learn more about AWS Directory Service
    Learn more about Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)
    Sample Customers
    Expedia, Intuit, Royal Dutch Shell, Brooks Brothers
    Azure Active Directory is trusted by companies of all sizes and industries including Walmart, Zscaler, Uniper, Amtrak,, and more.
    Top Industries
    Computer Software Company22%
    Comms Service Provider18%
    Media Company10%
    Financial Services Firm16%
    Computer Software Company11%
    Manufacturing Company11%
    Energy/Utilities Company6%
    Computer Software Company26%
    Comms Service Provider16%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Company Size
    Small Business56%
    Midsize Enterprise22%
    Large Enterprise22%
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise59%
    Small Business31%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise56%
    Small Business19%
    Midsize Enterprise15%
    Large Enterprise66%
    Buyer's Guide
    AWS Directory Service vs. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)
    July 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about AWS Directory Service vs. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
    622,645 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    AWS Directory Service is ranked 8th in Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) with 6 reviews while Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is ranked 1st in Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) with 97 reviews. AWS Directory Service is rated 8.4, while Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is rated 8.8. The top reviewer of AWS Directory Service writes "Extends AD identity and management capabilities to AWS resources". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) writes "With multi-factor authentication, we've seen a marked decrease in the number of threats we've seen come through". AWS Directory Service is most compared with Okta Workforce Identity, Google Cloud Identity, ManageEngine ADManager Plus, SailPoint IdentityIQ and JumpCloud, whereas Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is most compared with Google Cloud Identity, Okta Workforce Identity, Auth0, CyberArk Privileged Access Manager and Fortinet FortiAuthenticator. See our AWS Directory Service vs. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) report.

    See our list of best Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) vendors.

    We monitor all Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.